Treva Silverman

Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Treva Silverman talks about her early interests and the first time she recalls getting a laugh, at age six. She describes her early career in comedy, writing for television specials and working as a writer for Joan Rivers. She discusses her work as a writer on the popular 1960s series The Monkees, commenting on the characterizations created for each performer and the process of writing series episodes. She speaks about her writing for the 1960s series Captain Nice and He & She, both of which were well-received but short-lived, as well as the landmark drama Room 222. Silverman speaks in great detail about the series with which she is most closely associated, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, for which she won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series and Writer of the Year (Series) in 1974. She talks about working with series creators James L. Brooks and Allan Burns and the fact that the show observed no pecking order with the writers ("the best line wins"). She talks about the creation of the "Georgette" character (played by Georgia Engel) and many of "Rhoda's" (Valerie Harper) traits and storylines being based on her own personal life. She details such classic episodes as "Today I Am a Ma'am," "Rhoda the Beautiful," and "The Lou and Edie Story." She then talks about her semi-retirement from writing and her later contributions to writing television and films. Allan Neuwirth conducted the interview on September 18, 2007 in Sherman Oaks, CA.

"I can't write a character unless I love them. And if I love them, it means that I've taken their flaws and their faults, too. I wish I could do that 100% in real life."

Highlights
Treva Silverman on writing for the variety series The Entertainers, starring Carol Burnett
09:42
Treva Silverman on winning a Writers Guild Award for writing a special on Norman Rockwell
03:21
Treva Silverman on the challenges of being the only female on the writing staff of The Dean Martin Show
01:53
Treva Silverman on creating the character of "Georgette," played by Georgia Engel, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
04:46
Treva Silverman on writing for Room 222 for producer James L. Brooks
07:24
Treva Silverman on working with Mary Tyler Moore on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
01:02
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on her early exposure to the entertainment world, and on being a child musical prodigy; on her earliest experiences seeing television
12:38
On meeting Joan Rivers; on meeting James L. Brooks; on writing for the variety series The Entertainers, starring Carol Burnett
15:47

Chapter 2

On writing for The Dean Martin Show; on the challenges of being the only female on the writing staff of The Dean Martin Show
04:50
On writing for The Monkees; on The Monkees producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider; on being the only female writer to work on The Monkees
08:06
On the songs of The Monkees, and on the popularity of the show; on using a pen-name on an episode of The Monkees; on specific episodes of The Monkees she wrote
11:49
On The Monkees winning Emmy Awards, and on the end of the show; on writing for Captain Nice, created by Buck Henry
03:21

Chapter 3

On decisions made on The Monkees being influenced by the Marx Brothers' "controlled comic anarchy"; on Captain Nice with Buck Henry; on writing for Get Smart and He & She
13:20
On winning a Writers Guild Award for writing a special on Norman Rockwell; on writing on Room 222 for producer James L. Brooks; on how she came to write for The Mary Tyler Moore Show for James L. Brooks
17:08

Chapter 4

On writing for That Girl, starring Marlo Thomas; on writing The Mary Tyler Moore Show's "Rhoda Morgenstern," played by Valerie Harper, and on the female characters of the show; on the male writing staff of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and helping them write for female characters
12:04
On the development of the characters on The Mary Tyler Moore Show; on creating the character of "Georgette," played by Georgia Engel, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
07:52
On working with James L. Brooks on The Mary Tyler Moore Show; on working with Grant Tinker on The Mary Tyler Moore Show; on working with Mary Tyler Moore on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
08:58

Chapter 5

On Jay Sandrich directing The Mary Tyler Moore Show; on writing the The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Rhoda the Beautiful"; on writing the The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "The Lou and Edie Story," featuring Ed Asner as "Lou Grant"
07:18
On writing for great actors like the ones on The Mary Tyler Moore Show; on winning the "Super" Emmy Award for writing "The Lou and Edie Story" for The Mary Tyler Moore Show; on how The Mary Tyler Moore Show reflected its era and on leaving the show
12:57
On then-current projects; on how the role of women has changed since she started in television; on advice to aspiring comedy writers
03:54
On what she would like to be remembered for; on being the first female writer to win an Emmy Award; on her involvement in the feature film "Romancing the Stone"
04:27
Shows

Captain Nice

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Treva Silverman on writing for Captain Nice, created by Buck Henry
00:56
Treva Silverman on Captain Nice, created by Buck Henry
04:59

Dean Martin Show, The

View Show Page
Treva Silverman on writing for The Dean Martin Show
02:57
Treva Silverman on the challenges of being the only female on the writing staff of The Dean Martin Show
01:53

Entertainers, The

View Show Page
Treva Silverman on writing for the variety series The Entertainers, starring Carol Burnett
10:48

Get Smart

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Treva Silverman on writing for Get Smart and He & She
05:23

Mary Tyler Moore Show, The

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Treva Silverman on how she came to write for The Mary Tyler Moore Show for James L. Brooks
06:27
Treva Silverman on writing The Mary Tyler Moore Show's "Rhoda Morgenstern," played by Valerie Harper, and on the female characters of the show
03:53
Treva Silverman on the male writing staff of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and helping them write for female characters
03:36
Treva Silverman on the development of the characters on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
03:05
Treva Silverman on creating the character of "Georgette," played by Georgia Engel, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
04:46
Treva Silverman on working with James L. Brooks on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
06:30
Treva Silverman on working with Grant Tinker on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
01:26
Treva Silverman on working with Mary Tyler Moore on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
01:02
Treva Silverman on Jay Sandrich directing The Mary Tyler Moore Show
02:04
Treva Silverman on writing the The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Rhoda the Beautiful"
02:33
Treva Silverman on writing the The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "The Lou and Edie Story," featuring Ed Asner as "Lou Grant"
02:41
Treva Silverman on writing for great actors like the ones on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
01:51
Treva Silverman on submitting Mary Tyler Moore Show scripts for Emmy consideration
02:14
Treva Silverman on winning the "Super" Emmy Award for writing "The Lou and Edie Story" for The Mary Tyler Moore Show
05:03
Treva Silverman on how The Mary Tyler Moore Show reflected its era, and on leaving the show
03:47

Monkees, The

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Treva Silverman on writing for The Monkees
05:52
Treva Silverman on The Monkees producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider
00:53
Treva Silverman on being the only female writer to work on The Monkees
01:21
Treva Silverman on the songs of The Monkees, and on the popularity of the show
06:49
Treva Silverman on using a pen-name on an episode of The Monkees
01:52
Treva Silverman on specific episodes of The Monkees she wrote
03:08
Treva Silverman on The Monkees winning Emmy Awards, and on the end of the show
02:25
Treva Silverman on decisions made on The Monkees being influenced by the Marx Brothers' "controlled comic anarchy"
02:58

Room 222

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Treva Silverman on writing on Room 222 for producer James L. Brooks
07:24

That Girl

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Treva Silverman on writing for That Girl, starring Marlo Thomas
04:35
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Treva Silverman on advice to aspiring comedy writers
02:10

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Treva Silverman on creating the character of "Georgette," played by Georgia Engel, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
04:46

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Treva Silverman on the challenges of being the only female on the writing staff of The Dean Martin Show
01:53
Treva Silverman on being the only female writer to work on The Monkees
01:21
Treva Silverman on writing The Mary Tyler Moore Show's "Rhoda Morgenstern," played by Valerie Harper, and on the female characters of the show
03:53
Treva Silverman on the male writing staff of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and helping them write for female characters
03:36
Treva Silverman on how the role of women has changed since she started in television
00:52
Treva Silverman on being the first female writer to win an Emmy Award
01:23

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Treva Silverman on The Monkeeswinning Emmy Awards, and on the end of the show
02:27
Treva Silverman on being the first female writer to win an Emmy Award
01:23
Treva Silverman on winning the "Super" Emmy Award for writing "The Lou and Edie Story" for The Mary Tyler Moore Show
05:03
Treva Silverman on submitting Mary Tyler Moore Show scripts for Emmy consideration
02:14

First Big Break

View Topic
Treva Silverman on writing for the variety series The Entertainers, starring Carol Burnett
10:48

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Treva Silverman on the challenges of being the only female on the writing staff of The Dean Martin Show
01:53
Treva Silverman on being the only female writer to work on The Monkees
01:21
Treva Silverman on writing The Mary Tyler Moore Show's "Rhoda Morgenstern," played by Valerie Harper, and on the female characters of the show
03:53
Treva Silverman on the male writing staff of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and helping them write for female characters
03:36
Treva Silverman on how the role of women has changed since she started in television
00:52
Treva Silverman on being the first female writer to win an Emmy Award
01:23

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Treva Silverman on writing for the variety series The Entertainers, starring Carol Burnett
10:48

Pop Culture

View Topic
Treva Silverman on creating the character of "Georgette," played by Georgia Engel, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
04:46

Television Industry

View Topic
Treva Silverman on advice to aspiring comedy writers
02:10

Women

View Topic
Treva Silverman on the challenges of being the only female on the writing staff of The Dean Martin Show
01:53
Treva Silverman on being the only female writer to work on The Monkees
01:21
Treva Silverman on writing The Mary Tyler Moore Show's "Rhoda Morgenstern," played by Valerie Harper, and on the female characters of the show
03:53
Treva Silverman on the male writing staff of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and helping them write for female characters
03:36
Treva Silverman on how the role of women has changed since she started in television
00:52
Treva Silverman on being the first female writer to win an Emmy Award
01:23
Professions

Writers

View Profession
Treva Silverman on the development of the characters on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
03:06
Treva Silverman on writing for great actors like the ones on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
01:51
Treva Silverman on advice to aspiring comedy writers
02:10
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Treva Silverman on writing for The Monkees
22:22
Treva Silverman on writing for Captain Nice, created by Buck Henry
00:56
Treva Silverman on decisions made on The Monkees being influenced by the Marx Brothers' "controlled comic anarchy"
02:58
Treva Silverman on Captain Nice
04:59
Treva Silverman on writing for Get Smart and He & She
05:23
Treva Silverman on writing on Room 222 for producer James L. Brooks
07:24
Treva Silverman on how she came to write for The Mary Tyler Moore Show for James L. Brooks
06:23
Treva Silverman on writing for The Mary Tyler Moore Show
24:19
Treva Silverman on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
20:15

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Treva Silverman on writing for The Dean Martin Show
04:50
People

Edward Asner

View Interview Page
on writing the The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "The Lou and Edie Story," featuring Ed Asner as "Lou Grant"
02:41

James L. Brooks

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Treva Silverman on meeting James L. Brooks
01:37
Treva Silverman on writing for Room 222 for producer James L. Brooks
07:24
Treva Silverman on how she came to write for The Mary Tyler Moore Show for James L. Brooks
06:23
Treva Silverman on working with James L. Brooks on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
06:30

Carol Burnett

View Interview Page
Treva Silverman on writing for the variety series The Entertainers starring Carol Burnett
10:48

Georgia Engel

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Treva Silverman on creating the character of "Georgette," played by Georgia Engel, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
04:46

Valerie Harper

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Treva Silverman on writing The Mary Tyler Moore Show's "Rhoda Morgenstern," played by Valerie Harper, and on the female characters of the show
03:53

Buck Henry

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Treva Silverman on writing for Captain Nice, created by Buck Henry
00:56
Treva Silverman on working on Buck Henry's Captain Nice
04:59

Dean Martin

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Treva Silverman on writing for The Dean Martin Show
04:50

Mary Tyler Moore

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Treva Silverman on working with Mary Tyler Moore on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
01:02

Joan Rivers

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Treva Silverman on meeting Joan Rivers
01:46

Jay Sandrich

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Treva Silverman on Jay Sandrich directing The Mary Tyler Moore Show
02:04

Marlo Thomas

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Treva Silverman on writing for That Girl, starring Marlo Thomas
04:35

Grant Tinker

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Treva Silverman on working with Grant Tinker on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
01:26

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